Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The Hundred Handed One.

The Hundred Handed One.
D&D Chapter Start; The Plane Above.
Approx 21" x 19". Acrylics. Original art for sale: £1500.
©Wizards of the Coast

The Plane Above; Secrets of the Astral Sea has now been released, which means I can share my work on this D&D supplement. The Hundred Handed One was great fun to work on, and certainly satisfied my love of working with multiple figures, even if they are mainly compressed into one gross daemonic beastie!

The illustration followed the same layout requirements of previous Chapter Starts I've worked on, with the image spreading across two pages with the guttering faling about  a third in from the left. I tried to work the composition around this with the adventurers being placed on facing pages, and the monster flowing between them.

Value & Layout Sketch; digital greyscale.

I also sought to aid depth and clarity through colour choice, the red, green and blue providing strong delineation. The focus of the image is the explosion and that is emphasised through the strong white light and triangular composition of the combatants.

Line Sketch; graphite on board.


  1. Fantastic painting.
    Somehow the open mouth skull draws my attention on it.

    Most of the time in your pictures it looks really bad for the heroes. Are you a DM in secret? ;)

  2. Wow, this looks amazing! I love how the color scheme is mostly primary colors - it really does help to distinguish the figures. The red and purple bruise-like marks on the monster (I forget what it's called!) look so gross, and I love all the details in the forest. :)

  3. Awesome! - In the truest sense of the word.

    This is epic! There's some really serious graft gone into this painting, but as always it looks like you've just merrily hopped and skipped up the metaphoric mountain without breaking a sweat.

    Hat's off to you Mr Horsley, this is a classic.

  4. Wow Ralph, this is just made of win!
    One of the strongest compositions I have seen- really. I love the extra detail of the tree root about to hack the Paladin off at the knees... bloody Paladins.
    Out of curiosity, are sketching straight onto board or do you have a transfer process. I use a printout of my sketch and rub graphite on the back before tracing it onto my prepared surface, but it seems a bit cumbersome... any hints?

  5. Thanks for the comments.

    Arnd; Hmm, yeah I guess I do like those moments of apparent impending doom, but I always figure taht the adventurers will get out of it somehow - even if a bit battered and bruised. So, yeah, quite a lot like my games ;)

    Cacodaemonia; The colour scheme is fairly unsubtle, but I enjoyed working with the strong contrast, and it does help clarify an otherwise cluttered image.

    David; Glad it looks kind of effortless, 'cos I did curse at myself for the detail at least once or twice whilst painting it ;)

    Tommi; I sketch straight onto board, and paint over the graphite. Unsophisticated I know ;)

    Thanks again.


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